By Wilson Lee Flores
(Honorable Point out within the 2020 Doreen Gamboa Fernandez Meals Writing Award)
ALTHOUGH I grew up in a decrease middle-class household, with our widowed mom having to eke out a hardscrabble life for us, her two kids, by way of her educating and likewise her sideline of tutoring wealthy youngsters at our small, rented condominium unit in Quezon Metropolis, which was just some minutes’ stroll from faculty, my youthful sister and I nonetheless had a blissful childhood as a result of mother showered us with boundless love and she or he cooked so exceedingly effectively.
Amongst mother’s finest meals had been pork and beef dishes which she had braised, broiled, stewed, fried, boiled, slow-cooked, blanched, or barbecued based mostly on the wealthy traditions of the Philippines, the Hokkien area (the southern a part of Fujian province in southeast China, centered close to historic port metropolis of Quanzhou, pronounced as “Chuanchow”), Spain, or a fusion of those three in fascinating eclectic levels. Beneath are a few of her meals, as lovingly remembered by me and my sister.
Mother used to adeptly prepare dinner adobo within the Filipino fashion — with vinegar, varied spices (bay leaves, garlic, black peppercorns) and along with her including pineapple juice. Although adobo is normally pork, mother additionally cooked it effectively with rooster and hard-boiled eggs, rooster liver, rooster with pork, squid, greens like kangkong (water spinach) or sitaw (yardlong beans).
Pre-colonial Filipinos had been already preserving meals utilizing vinegar and salt, regardless of the dish title coming from the Spanish colonizers’ phrase “adobar” or “marinade.” That is most probably one other case of “lexical imperialism,” a time period utilized by American meals historian and journalist Raymond Sokolov. Can we rediscover the unique pre-colonial title for this beloved Filipino dish?
Mother additionally advised us early Chinese language merchants and migrants had contributed to the evolution of the unofficial Filipino nationwide meals, adobo, by bringing right here the traditional Chinese language invention of soy sauce, which is named “toyo” within the Filipino language and originating from the Hokkien or south Fujian time period “taw-yu.”
One among my favorites from mother’s huge repertoire of just about magical concoctions was her Chinese language-style adobo. She referred to as it “loba” or “loma” in Hokkien. It’s savory and candy, totally different from her cooking of Filipino-style adobo as a result of it didn’t have vinegar. This dish had extra components like mushrooms, oyster sauce, soy sauce, star anise, chives, some drops of sesame oil, and black fungus which mother referred to as “oh bok-ni” in Hokkien and which she stated is named in Filipino as “tenga ng daga” or “rat’s ear.” Mother defined that in response to conventional Chinese language drugs, the scrumptious oh bok-ni is wholesome, helpful for higher blood circulation, and will help reduce possibilities of stroke or coronary heart issues. Wow!
Our mother additionally had her personal inimitable model of pata tim. She advised us this dish is one other “yummy contribution of Chinese language migrants to the wealthy range of Filipino delicacies.” Mother’s pata tim was virtually just like “paksiw na pata,” besides that it had no vinegar. It had a heavenly odor throughout gradual cooking, which my youthful sister stated was as a consequence of pork mixing with sesame oil and star anise. My sister additionally recalled that Mother first roasted the pork hock, earlier than the subsequent step of gradual cooking in low warmth.
“Pata” comes from the Spanish phrase for “leg,” whereas I imagine “tim” comes from the Hokkien phrase “tim” or cooking meals in a vessel inside one other vessel half full of water.
Different unforgettable, wondrous pork and beef dishes which mother cooked effectively included pork or beef sinigang (bitter soup); pork menudo (with liver stewed in tomato sauce); pork bistek (cooked in marinade of calamansi and soy sauce); fried porkchop, the wholesome pork rib bone soup with radish or “makut theng”; bulalo or beef stew slow-cooked (with or with out sibut or “4 herbs” referred to as “gu-ma theng”); braised beef noodle soup; kare-kare (ox tail with greens in a peanut stew); goto or cow tripe (from the Hokkien phrases “gu” for “cow or beef” and “to” for “tripe”); pork kidney misua or “yochi misua” (wheat noodles); stir-fried pork kidney or “cha yochi”; stir-fried pork liver or “cha ti kwa”; pork liver misua or “ti kwa misua”; pork siomai (dumpling); mechado (stew of larded beef); candy and bitter pork; shredded pork with tausi (fermented black beans); humba (from the Hokkien title “hongba” or crimson braised pork stomach); tito or pork tripe (from the Hokkien phrases “ti” for “pork” and “to” for “tripe”); machang or savory sticky rice dumpling with pork stomach and mushroom (a protracted technique of in a single day marination, then three hours remaining cooking); maki mi (soup with meat and noodles); taosi spareribs (cooked with fermented black beans); lumpiang Shanghai (fried spring roll with pork meat); pork asado (simmered in a number of Chinese language components); Ilocano pinakbet (vegetable stew); and lots of others.
Our cramped, rented condominium in Quezon Metropolis had a really small kitchen with solely a scrawny forlorn fuel range, a sink, a fridge, and fraying, worn-out wood cupboards atop the range. Nevertheless, below our mom as culinary wizard, that lowly kitchenette got here alive as a fascinating place the place meager parts of livestock, veggies, fishes, and spices had been by some means concocted with love and resourcefulness into aromatic, zestful and delightfully chic dishes.
THE DOREEN Gamboa Fernandez Meals Writing Award (DGF Award) just lately introduced the winners of the 2020 competitors. The subject material was “Livestock,” which, within the Philippines refers to cattle, pigs, goats, carabaos, and horses. The DGF Award is now in its 19th 12 months. Named after the late dean of meals writers, Doreen Gamboa Fernandez, it was based to encourage writers to contribute to Philippine meals literature. The successful essays of the primary 15 years have been revealed in two books — Savor the Phrase and Sangkap.